Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Kwaheri Nzitu...

Nzitu Mawakha 1973-2014

The best piece of advice I ever heard Nzitu giving someone was to “pay attention to the small details…”

„Achte auf die kleinen Dinge!“ hat sie gesagt, und lächelte geheimnisvoll dabei.

My friend Nzitu Mawakha is extremely good at paying attention to the small details.

She’s the one, for example, who introduced me to sparkling wine with pomegranate seeds – Sekt mit Granatapfelkernen schlürfen - believe me, it’s the only way to drink it.

Es gab auch nie einen Roadtrip oder Sleepover ohne Wärmflaschen, Schlabberhosen, dicke Socken und Schokolade. Nzitu versteht viel von der heilenden Kraft von Schokolade, weil sie gerne Harry Potter gelesen hat.

Hadija has already mentioned Nzitu’s ability to listen to the silences, the pauses, the information between the words. In this way she often knows better than you know yourself, how you are really feeling.

Dirk and I once gave her the nickname “Oracle” because of her infinite wisdom, her calm aura, her welcoming manner, her deep insight. We had a beautiful welcoming ceremony for our – at the time – unborn baby. Vielen Dank nochmal liebe Mirjam, dass du uns dieses wunderschöne doch intime Fest im kleinen Kreis am Tag vor Elijahs Geburt organisiert hast! Das gehört zu meinen schönsten Erinnerungen…

We sat in a small circle and told each other our wishes for the baby.Wamilika, du hast gehofft, dass Elijah ein Mädchen wird, bist aber von Yosime and Nayan überstimmt worden, wisst ihr noch? The adults wished very worthy wishes: health, happiness, love, peace, safety, Geborgenheit, Liebe, eine starke Community um sich… until the round reached Nzitu and she said: “I wish that the baby will be cheeky. Frech soll das Baby sein. Your wishes are boring. Wenn das Kind so wird, wie ihr euch wünscht, werden wir gar keinen Spaß haben…

Yeah Nzitu. Thanks for that.

Manchmal saßen Nzitu und ich in ihrer von Tina schon so wunderbar beschriebenen Küche bis tief in die Nacht, und haben – sage ich diplomatisch - das Verhalten von bestimmten Menschen kritisch kommentiert. Nzitu lachte dann immer von Herzen und sagte: „Oh Sharon, wir kommen nicht in den Himmel!“

Dear Nzitu,

You sometimes laughed and told me “oh Sharon, we are not going to heaven!” when we were alone and sharing our – let’s say – observations on relationships, family and life in Germany.

But I think if heaven is a place in our hearts, then you have been there the whole time.

In Dankbarkeit & Liebe...Daima

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

(a gentle nudge)*

But of course I would have come!

I even think I could have come if…
Well the point is that I tried, right?

No, really! I did.

Because I thought about trying and while I thought about it
I imagined how pleased you would have been, and
That made me feel incredibly warm inside.
Special and important too. For just a few minutes:

I stood right there - my feet immovable -
I stood right there - my one hand held yours
I stood right there - my other hand, a fist in the sky
I stood right there - my head bowed down 
in celebration and commemoration

- and I would have stood right there, of course!
I would have held your hand, no doubt!
I would have if
I would have come.
But you know that already, right?


You would know that, you say?

Ah, I suppose you would be right if I was
the kind of person who never came
but I would have come. So that’s different.

It really is.

*(dedicated to those who will at some point in the future say, they were going to visit their local sites of non-citizen resistance but sadly didn't make it before the protests ended - victoriously or otherwise)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Conversation Between Equals.

I love being a mother for many reasons (I won't idealise it though. Sometimes I really think about tearing my hair out, dreadlock by dreadlock). One of the reasons I love being a mother is that everyday my children give me the chance to see the present through the eyes of the future - if I make time to stop and listen that is.

OK - Sometimes I blow it. My children getting to school on time or them picking up dirty washing from their bedroom floor becomes - for reasons even I do not really understand - more important to me, than them telling me their latest ideas for saving the environment or reciting a made-up joke. But sometimes universe intervenes and blesses me with the gift of patience, clarity and time all at the same moment. And when that happens, miracles can occur.

One morning, my 11 year old son tentatively asked me if he could tell me a theory he was forming. We were alone at the breakfast table because everyone else was still asleep.

"Of course" I said. "Go ahead..."

"I think white people make Black* people Black" he said. Then he looked at me like he expected me to think he was talking nonsense. "Do you know what I mean?"

I asked him to carry on talking.